Soil conservation is not something new or recently considered. In the mid-1930’s Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote to the governor of each state recommending legislation to establish soil and water conservation districts to prevent the loss of valuable soil resources. The President’s letter expressed this concern: “The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.” Soil Conservation District laws were passed in all states to provide local leadership for soil conservation programs.
The Robert E. Lee Soil and Water Conservation District was organized on July 24, 1940, under the provisions of the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Districts Law of 1938. The District was originally made up of the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Campbell, Buckingham and Cumberland. It was reorganized in 1972, at which time the City of Lynchburg joined the District and Buckingham and Cumberland Counties withdrew to form a separate Soil and Water
Conservation District known as the Peter Francisco District. Amherst, Appomattox, Campbell Counties and the City of Lynchburg now make up the Robert E. Lee District.
The District covers an area of about 1385 square miles. Programs and initiatives are directed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Two Directors are elected to four-year terms from each of the the counties and the City of Lynchburg in the regular general elections. Two additional Directors are appointed; one serves as a Director at-large and the other represents Virginia Cooperative Extension. Associate Directors are also appointed by the Board for their expertise, as they apply to the District’s mission. Occupations of the current members of the Board include beef cattle and general agriculture, education, civil service, land development and environmental consulting.
Due to the resignation of John Petchul as a Robert E. Lee SWCD Amherst County director effective September 21, 2016, the District is recruiting candidates to fill the unexpired elected term (term of office expires 12-31-2019). Interested parties must reside within the boundary of Amherst County. Nomination of Appointment (DCR-199-014) and SWCD Director Information (DCR-199-015) forms are available at the District office (7631-A Richmond Hwy., Appomattox, VA 24522, (434) 352-2819. The completed forms should be returned to the District office.
The District’s Staff consists of an Office Administrator, Amherst Watershed Coordinator, Conservation Education Specialist, Ag. BMP Conservation Specialist and a TMDL Ag.BMP Technician, with most of the staff operating out of an office in Appomattox, VA these offices are shared with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Office space for the District is also maintained at Sweet Briar College in Amherst, VA.
Responsibilities of the staff include:
- Administration of the Virginia Agricultural Cost Share Program
- Coordination of the Amherst Watershed Protection Program
- Environmental Education and Outreach
- Coordination of District Operations
- Operation and Maintenance of 6 Watershed Dams located in Appomattox & Campbell Counties
District meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of every month at 6 pm at the Spring House Restaurant in Lynchburg, VA. (no meeting in December). The public are welcome to attend.
**NOTICE: The Point of Contact (POC) Freedom of Information (FOIA) Officer is the “person to whom the public can direct requests for public records and who will oversee the public body’s compliance with the provisions of this chapter” as per §2.2-3704.2.C
Robert E. Lee SWCD’s POC FOIA Officer is:
Frank D. Goodwin